NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20000097574: Autonomous Science Analyses of Digital Images for Mars Sample Return and Beyond
Publication date 1999-01-01
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), AUTONOMY, LANDING SITES, MARS SAMPLE RETURN MISSIONS, MORPHOLOGY, DATA PROCESSING, LANDING MODULES, ALGORITHMS, BANDWIDTH, CYCLES, DECISION MAKING, DEPOSITS, DISTANCE, DOWNLINKING, ITERATION, MARS MISSIONS, MOBILITY, POSITION (LOCATION), PRIORITIES, REFLECTION, Gulick, V. C., Morris, R. L., Ruzon, M., Roush, T. L.,
To adequately explore high priority landing sites, scientists require rovers with greater mobility. Therefore, future Mars missions will involve rovers capable of traversing tens of kilometers (vs. tens of meters traversed by Mars Pathfinder's Sojourner). However, the current process by which scientists interact with a rover does not scale to such distances. A single science objective is achieved through many iterations of a basic command cycle: (1) all data must be transmitted to Earth and analyzed; (2) from this data, new targets are selected and the necessary information from the appropriate instruments are requested; (3) new commands are then uplinked and executed by the spacecraft and (4) the resulting data are returned to Earth, starting the process again. Experience with rover tests on Earth shows that this time intensive process cannot be substantially shortened given the limited data downlink bandwidth and command cycle opportunities of real missions. Sending complete multicolor panoramas at several waypoints, for example, is out of the question for a single downlink opportunity. As a result, long traverses requiring many science command cycles would likely require many weeks, months or even years, perhaps exceeding rover design life or other constraints. Autonomous onboard science analyses can address these problems in two ways. First, it will allow the rover to transmit only "interesting" images, defined as those likely to have higher science content. Second, the rover will be able to anticipate future commands, for example acquiring and returning spectra of "interesting" rocks along with the images in which they were detected. Such approaches, coupled with appropriate navigational software, address both the data volume and command cycle bottlenecks that limit both rover mobility and science yield. We are developing algorithms to enable such intelligent decision making by autonomous spacecraft. Reflecting the ultimate level of ability we aim for, this program has been dubbed the "Grad Student on Mars Project". We envision, for example, an appropriately intelligent Athena-like rover at the Pathfinder landing site might be able to traverse over the ridge towards "Twin Peaks" to obtain better information on the stratigraphy of these "streamlined islands" or of the size, composition and morphology of boulders located on them. Along the traverse, the intelligent rover would collect and analyze images and obtain spectra of geologically interesting features or regions. The intelligent rover might also traverse further up Arcs Vallis, and find additional paleoflood stage indicators such as slackwater deposits. Recognizing additional regions where boulders are imbricated, noting changes in their size, distribution, morphology, composition and the associated changes in channel geometry would yield important information on the outflow channel's paleoflood history, Representative images and associated supporting data from these locations could be downlinked to Earth along with the data requested by scientists from the previous uplink opportunity. Our initial work has focused on recognizing geologically interesting portions of images. Here we summarize some of the algorithms to date.
Ocr ABBYY FineReader 11.0
Uploaded by chris85 on